Matteo Martinolich

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Matteo Martinolich (10 February 1860 - 23 December 1934) was a Croatian master shipbuilder, and was the first to use Mississippi pine in the building of seagoing vessels, which was approved by the Marine Underwriters.

Born in Mali Lošinj, Croatia (at the time part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire), the son of Francesco Stanislao Martinolich and Maria Dominica Merlo, he initially studied naval architecture and received training in carpentry at the Austrian naval shipyards in Pula. At that time, Pula was the chief naval base of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

He arrived in the United States at the age of 23, landing in New Orleans with his brother Francesco (Frank) Martinolich. They settled shortly after in DeLisle, Mississippi. In DeLisle, Matteo worked for local shipbuilder Antonio Pavolini, originally from Italy. Matteo married Antonio's oldest daughter Johanna Pavolini in 1885.

From 1907-1911, Martinolich also worked with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the Chattahoochee River in Alabama building dredge boats for their dam building projects.

Through World War I and until his semi-retirement and closing of the business in about 1922, Martinolich built and designed hundreds of ships and boats; some still ply the seas today. Through hard work and diligence, Matteo Martinolich launched a shipyard and raised a large family, a true American immigrant success story.[1][2][3]